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Medical

A single molecule made by combining three hormones has been found to effectively cure obes...

In 2012, we covered work led by Professor Richard DiMarchi that showed linking two hormones into a single molecule held promise as a treatment for obesity. DiMarchi followed this up last year by combining the properties of two endocrine hormones to provide an effective treatment for both obesity and adult-onset diabetes. Continuing in this vein, DiMarchi has now co-led a study whereby obesity and diabetes were effectively cured in lab animals by adding a third hormone to the molecular mix.  Read More

Researchers have developed a system to uncover compounds capable of turning 'bad' white fa...

Researchers at Harvard University say they have identified two chemical compounds that could replace "bad" fat cells in the human body with healthy fat-burning cells, in what may be the first step toward the development of an effective medical treatment – which could even take the form of a pill – to help control weight gain.  Read More

A new method for restoring light response in blind mice and dogs holds promise in reversin...

A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light.  Read More

Rod-like devices are injected just beneath the skin and self-assemble into 3D scaffolds (I...

Scientists have had some success activating the body's immune system to take the fight to cancer and other diseases, a process known as immunotherapy. Now, a new method developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University could advance this form of treatment even further. The technique involves the injection of biomaterials that assemble into 3D scaffolds inside the body to accommodate huge amounts of immune cells, a process that could trigger an attack on deadly infections ranging from HIV to cancer to Ebola.  Read More

A compound known as (+)-SJ733 has shown promise in tackling the spread of malaria (Photo: ...

Though recent research has given hope to the anti-malaria cause, the deadly disease still claims more than half a million lives each year. A study led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis suggests that a certain compound results in the body's immune system treating malaria-infected cells the same way it does aging red blood cells, leading to the parasite becoming undetectable in mice within 48 hours.  Read More

The humble asthma inhaler may be relegated from lifeblood of treatment to a mere backup de...

Asthma attacks are terrifying. They feel almost like the world is closing in around you as you wheeze and cough and gasp for breath. And they often strike suddenly, without warning, when an innocuous event stirs up dust or pollen around you. That terror of unexpected attack that we asthmatics feel every day may largely disappear if a novel new research project pans out. Scientists at the Universities of Cambridge, London, and Manchester have gone after the trigger allergens and developed an inhalable powder from a compound that binds to a major dust mite allergen. This powder could lead to a shift in focus for asthma treatment from relief to inhibition.  Read More

Resveratrol, found in grape skins and red wine, has been found to kill the cells most like...

With the festive season upon us, many people will indulge in more alcohol than usual. The health risks of binge drinking (and embarrassing Christmas party behavior) aside, alcohol consumption is also a major risk factor for some cancers, including head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer. However, in a spot of good news, a recent study from the University of Colorado suggests that the chemical resveratrol found in grape skins and in red wine can help block the cancer-causing effects of alcohol.  Read More

Damaged or defective retinas may someday be replaced by a nanotube film that transforms li...

A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible nanotube-semiconductor nanocrystal film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application.  Read More

A diagram illustrating the makeup of the implants

Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose.  Read More

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, associate professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside Scho...

Researchers are zeroing in on what looks like an effective treatment for the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Teams from UC Riverside and New York's Rockefeller University have both used the same compound, indazole chloride, to successfully reverse the progression of MS in mice. The drug appears to be able to stimulate the regeneration of the myelin sheath – the nerve pathway coating that is progressively destroyed as MS attacks the nervous system.  Read More

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